If you want to point to a big steaming pile of woo that passes itself off as mainstream it’s got to be homeopathy. Fortunately some MPs have seen through the unproven nonsense and recommended that the NHS should stop funding homeopathic treatments. Every pound spent on what are in effect placebos is a pound not spent on genuine medicine.
£4m may not seem a lot out of a multi billion pound NHS budget, but in these cash strapped times it’s more essential than ever that funding goes where it would be the most beneficial and effective. If people want to spend their own money on herbal teas, chiropractors and watered down medicines, then fine, but the taxpayer deserves money to be targeted on proven treatments which give real results, not relying on faith and deception.
But homeopathy isn’t the only faith funding for which the taxpayer foots the bill. The £4m to homeopathy is outweighed by a factor of 10 when it comes to religion in hospitals. Something like £40m every year goes to hospital chaplaincy services in the NHS. When staff and visitors have to pay a rip-off £1.20 an hour to park at hospitals like South Tyneside Hospital, and patients can pay £3.50 to watch twelve hours of TV at their bed, surely it’s not beyond the realms of reasonable expectation that patients can pay for their chaplaincy services, or the churches involved provide those services free to their flock?
Some patients will find an emotional benefit in natural remedies and spiritual support, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of what the NHS is there to do – treat patients with medicine backed by cold hard science.